Latin America On Film
Cabeza De Vaca
In ‘Cabeza De Vaca’, the film flirts with the clash of two very different cultures coming together. As viewers we first see the raw feelings of what we deem as civilized human beings, forecoming to cannibalism just to survive. We also witness these same men, being killed and captured by Indians who are portrayed, in our society, as demonic non-human creatures. As the movie goes on, we see that these two cultures being as different as they are are in fact quite similar in how they react to something new. The ideologies of both cultures are mixed into one man, Cabeza De Vaca.
The cultural and ethnical difference shown in ‘Cabeza De Vaca’, are between the Indians and Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish, at the time, were colonizing all of America, putting their culture and beliefs into the minds of the Indians. They, the Spanish, thought that Indians were savages, and needed to be reformed or die. The Indians took the same approach, showing the Spanish their customs and applying it too them as well.
Both cultures even though far apart, seemed to show the same ideology in accepting something new to their culture with ethics being the same, both being as black and white as the other. The cultural diversity in the tribes and Spanish are shown in rank and class. Both have a hierarchy, in which the lower rank follows and respects the higher. In the film this is shown in various scenes. One in particular shows the main character, taken care of the fallen ship and its mates. Since his responsibilities were much higher than anyone else’s on the wrecked ship, he gained leadership with its crew. Another example show how the Indians tribe leaders looked to their witch doctor to fix every problem. The witch doctors rank gave him the position to take a slave (Cabeza De Vaca). Both instances, are very similar due to how they use status to figure out who will become a leader if something bad or if new obstacles come their...